|Issue #11 - August 2003|
Welcome to Naturopathic News issue #11, August 2003. It’s my goal to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. Any feedback in the form of comments, letters to the editor, success stories, etc., is appreciated.
HOMEOPATHY INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP
A three session introductory workshop on homeopathy, taught by Dr. Susan Beal and Dr. Gregory Pais, will be offered this fall in State College, PA. This course will cover the basics of homeopathic philosophy and practice. At the end of the course the student will have a firm grasp of how to address self-care situations with homeopathy.
The course is scheduled for 3 Mondays, Sept. 15, 29, and Oct. 6. We will meet at the Friends' Meeting House, 611 East Prospect Avenue, State College, PA, from 7-9pm in the evening.
Registration for the three sessions includes handouts and printed materials. The cost is $40 per person or $75/couple.
As this is an introductory course previous experience is not a prerequisite. However, a willingness to study and apply oneself regarding the covered material is necessary to get the most out of this course.
Please join us for this class.
If you would like further information concerning the class, the teachers, or would like to register, please contact Dr. Pais or Dr. Beal.
ORGANIC FOOD FOR THOUGHT—LESSENING CHILDREN’S PESTICIDE EXPOSURE
Parents concerned about the risk to their children’s health posed by eating foods sprayed with organophosphorus (OP) pesticides may want to take note: Cynthia Curl and her colleagues at the University of Washington compared the OP pesticide metabolite levels of 39 Seattle preschool children and found that children who consumed organic fruits, vegetables, and juices had significantly lower OP pesticide exposure than those who consumed conventional foods [Environmental Health Perspectives 111:377–382]. They also concluded that consumption of organic produce and juice may shift children’s OP pesticide exposure from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current guidelines.
Studies suggest that chronic low-level exposure to OP pesticides may affect neurological functioning, neurodevelopment, and growth in children. Consumption of produce and juice is possibly one of the main pathways by which children are exposed to pesticide residues. Children’s diets often include more of these items than do adult diets. Children also eat more food per body mass than adults. The scientists recruited families at a local chain supermarket selling mostly conventional products and a consumer cooperative selling mostly organic goods. Children aged 2–5 years were considered eligible for the study if their parents stated that the produce and juice they consumed was nearly all conventional or nearly all organic.
Parents were later interviewed in the home about a variety of topics such as income, length of time at their current residence, and housekeeping practices, as well as any recent use of pesticides around the home, which could present an alternative route of exposure in the children (it was subsequently determined not to be a confounding factor). They were also asked how often their children sucked their thumbs, washed their hands, engaged in hand- to -mouth activity, and spent time outdoors. The parents kept food diaries for their children for three days, and collected as much of the urine produced by their children on the third day as they could. Most parents collected nearly all the urine their children produced. It was rare for a family to eat 100% organically, so a 75% cutoff was employed: 18 children whose juice and produce servings were 75% or more organic were included in the “organic” category, and 21 children whose diets were 75% or more conventional were grouped into the “conventional” category.
The children’s urine samples were analyzed for five OP pesticide metabolites: dimethylphosphate, dimethylthiophosphate, dimethyldithiophosphate, diethylphosphate, and diethylthiophosphate. These metabolites can be grouped as dimethyl and diethyl metabolites. The data showed that the median total dimethyl metabolite concentration was approximately six times higher for the children eating conventional diets than for the children eating organic diets. The median total diethyl metabolite concentration was the same across the two groups.
Overall, the children eating primarily organic diets had significantly lower OP pesticide metabolite concentrations than did the children eating conventional diets. This analysis did not allow the researchers to determine exactly which pesticides children were being exposed to. The metabolites measured are generic breakdown products of more than a dozen OP pesticides, and within that group there is more than a 100-fold difference in toxicity. The researchers did, however, calculate some simple dose estimates, and the results of those estimates suggest that consuming organic products may reduce a child’s exposure level to below the Environmental Protection Agency’s chronic reference doses for various OP pesticides, shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk.
ANTIBIOTICS DO NOT CURE SINUSITIS
Amoxicillin-Clavulanate in Clinically Diagnosed Acute Rhinosinusitis:
Patients were given amoxicillin, 875 mg, and clavulanic acid, 125 mg, or placebo twice daily for 6 days. Main outcome measures were time to cure (primary outcome), number of days during which rhinosinusitis restricted activities at home or work, and frequency of adverse effects (secondary outcomes).
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Inserting a gene that is resistant to a particular antibiotic creates genetically modified grain. It has been assumed that this was a harmless process as the gene breaks down in an animal’s digestive tract. But one thing was ignored—the gene can survive in the mouths of cows, sheep, goats, and other ruminants. And British researchers have proved that this gene can also be transferred to the bacteria in the mouths of other ruminants. Take note, the type of E. coli most dangerous to humans—E. coli 0157:H7—is the one that is most prevalent in the oral cavity of these same animals.
This means that the widespread practice of feeding genetically modified grain to cows, sheep, goats, etc., could wind up promoting the growth of a new type of deadly E. coli that is antibiotic-resistant.
Current Combined HRT Use Doubles Risk of Breast Cancer
The report, in the August 9th, 2003 issue of The Lancet, suggests that the risk declines significantly after one year of discontinuation and returns to baseline within 5 years.
Dr. Valerie Beral, of Cancer Research UK in Oxford, and Million Women Study Collaborators recruited more than one million women aged 50 to 64 between 1996 and 2001. The investigators analyzed the 80% of women who were postmenopausal, with follow-up averaging 2.6 years for analyses of cancer incidence and 4.1 years for analyses of mortality due to breast cancer. About half of the women had used HRT at some
Overall, the relative risk (RR) for current HRT users compared with never users was 1.66. Among women who had ceased use of HRT in the previous year, the relative risk was only slightly elevated, RR = 1.14. For those currently using estrogen-only preparations, the RR was 1.30; for those using estrogen-progestagen, the RR was 1.88, and among tibolone users it was 1.45.
Among those using combination HRT, the RR was 1.70 for those whose treatment was less than 5 years and 2.21 for those using it longer. The greatest documented increase was among those using combined equine estrogen and medroxyprogesterone acetate -- the combination used in the Women's Health Initiative trial -- with an RR of 2.42 among those using the drugs for at least 5 years.
The relative risks did not differ significantly among those using oral, transdermal or implanted formulations. Current use of HRT was also associated with an increased risk of death from breast cancer (RR = 1.22).
Dr. Beral's group estimates that approximately 20,000 extra breast cancers over the past decade can be attributed to women aged 50 to 64 who had used HRT, three-quarters of which were associated with the use of estrogen-progestin.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Chris van Weel of University Medical Centre Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and colleagues recommend that general practitioners should discourage HRT for their patients. At most, they suggest, "a well-informed decision to prescribe HRT [should encompass] no longer than 3-6 months."
For those patients already taking HRT, they write, "Discontinuing HRT should be suggested in as supportive a way as possible, because no one will benefit from panic or over-reaction."
GP: For many years, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, hormone replacement therapy has been indiscriminately offered to women without discussion of the pros and cons. This is a very individual decision that should be made with as much information as possible.
Here are a few nutrition tidbits for some common foods.